Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Rich History of Tenerife

March 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel Guide

Seasoned travelers will tell you that there are many ingredients that go into making a memorable holiday: accommodations, attractions, and dining are a few of them. But there is more to it than meets the eye. The destination you choose will largely determine the success of your trip, and there are so many places to go that it is no easy task selecting the one for you. Start by researching the history of your prospective spots. You can tell a lot about a place by knowing how it got to where it is today. Somewhere like Tenerife, – rich in history and culture, – has a lot to offer its visitors because of its storied past. Additionally, if you research the history of Tenerife, you’ll discover some of the more worthy things to do there.

The largest member of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has a history that dates back to 200 B.C. when it was first settled by a tribe called the Guanches. Not unlike Neanderthals, these were primitive people of large stature and characteristically blonde hair. Many centuries later, in 1494,the complexion of the island changed forever when Spanish conqueror Alonso Fernandez de Lugo landed in Santa Cruz with orders from the king to overtake it. The defeat of the Guanches owes itself to the fact that the leaders of the individual provinces responded differently to the attack, forming sides called “the side of war” and “the side of peace.” Because the Guanches were divided, they became an easy target for the 2,000 Spanish troops.

The conquest proved costly for the Guanches, many of whom were enslaved by their new Spanish rulers. The island experienced an influx of immigration from Spain, Italy, and Germany (all members of the Spanish Empire), and these arrivals brought with them diseases new to Tenerife that threatened the lives of the native people. Many of the Guanches were also forced into slavery as the Spanish sought to harvest sugarcane and bananas in hopes of making agriculture the focal point of their economy.

Tenerife experienced another invasion in 1797 – this time at the hands of the British – when Admiral Horatio Nelson waged an attack at Santa Cruz. The Spanish, with a spirited counter-attack that included throwing rocks, stifled multiple attempts to conquer the island. There are traces of each invasion, and each race of people that inhabited the island are alive in the history of Tenerife today.

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